Say Hi to the Pink ‘Stache – Lyft Ridesharing Comes to L.A.

A Lyft parade...a Prius sports the trademark pink moustache

As part of its Los Angeles launch, Lyft led a parade of cars donning fluffy pink mustaches on their front bumpers through the streets of Santa Monica during the lunch hour today.

Launched by SF-based Zimride, a provider of white-label online ridematching services, Lyft markets itself as an alternative to a cab and positions itself as the next step in the ongoing evolution in ridesharing.

People can arrange for rides with Lyft drivers in minutes via a smartphone application. The application handles “donations” passengers give drivers in exchange for the ride. Drivers must pass background driving and criminal checks; they also have to carry sufficient insurance. Zimride allowed users to rate one another as drivers and passengers. Lyft allows for the same thing, and will never match a passenger with a driver he/she rated fewer than four stars.

Zimride provides ridematching services on L.A.’s Westside. In the fall 2008 UCLA agreed to offer its Facebook app to users with email addresses. The following summer, UCLA upgraded to Zimride’s white label service, which opened access to non-Facebook users.

Zimride turned out to be more useful for arranging regular commutes and one-time long distance trips. How will Lyft find and meet the demand for impromptu around-town trips in LA? Furthermore, how will Lyft and the technology and behavioral changes it might prompt fit into policymakers and planners’ grander schemes for vehicle mile trip reductions? Will services like Lyft supplant fixed-route bus lines? Will so-called choice riders shift from modes like fixed-route transit and biking to this kind of peer-to-peer ridesharing? Or will it fill a void that it isn’t fiscally or logistically feasible for municipal transit operators to fulfill?

  • La Resident

    Heads up that covering any portion of your license plate will garner you a ticket. 

  • Wanderer

    It’s encouraging that Lyft and the PUC came to an agreement that protects passenger safety while ensuring Lyft’s ability to operate. I hope other similar services will do so too.

  • Carl Russo

    Do you really want Lyft amateurs on your streets? See

  • davistrain

    In some respects it sounds like a rebirth of the “jitney bus” phenomenon of about a hundred years ago.

  • calwatch

    I’m not a big fan of these amateur ridesharing sites, because of the liability should there be an accident (or even just some faker rider who might claim assault or worse). The Uber model, with town car services, works better in my opinion.

  • That is true… And it is on steroids.

  • Ugh, that does not look pretty.

  • Good catch. The other vehicles in the lyft parade did not cover their plates w the fuzzy lip.

  • Anonymous

    So excited that LYFT has arrived in LA.  It is loved in SF and will be an amazing way to get around here for those that don’t have a car or don’t want to use their own.  What a great way to get home after going out drinking with friends.  calwatch, this is hardly amateur – LYFT drivers have to have been driving for at least 3 years to be able to be part of the LYFT community and have clean DMV and criminal background records and have at least a 4.5 out of 5 star rating by users.  LYFT also has insurance to back up the drivers’ own insurance.  And my guess is Carl Russo is a taxi driver who’s worried about competition from a service that is faster, cheaper and friendlier – accidents can happen to anyone on the road.  I love LYFT!!!!

  • Brian

    The Westside to downtown. Typical small minded elitism. Pathetic

  • Wow a picture of an accident. So am I’m supposed to come to the conclusion that taxi cabs do not get into accidents because you have posted a picture of a Lyft car in an accident? Here’s a thought… How about posting some verifyable stats that getting into a Lyft car is more dangerous than the alternatives and I may begin to take your post seriously.

  • Huh?

  • josh cedeno

    … your comment makes no sense. that person could have gotten in an accident no matter what.. they could have been driving a friend to work for free.

  • Anonymous

    They’re already on the streets. So you just object to them having passengers.

  • Ted

    This is a bit dumb, far fetched and just opens up to all sorts of issues, I’m feeling massive head pain from the amount of effort someone actually came up with on this nonsense.

  • Not Scared to Break Tradition

    Well, its been around for a while and is crushing the taxi and competition markets which had a monopoly and rules the ’empire’. Yup, didn’t open up much in the way of issues did it? And it made everyone who used it alot happier. Hope that eases your tradition-stuck headache. Definitely not so far fetched now that it’s working far better than most taxis.

  • Los Angeles District Motorways

    Lyft eliminates fakers and doesn’t jack up prices on key nights like Uber does. Lyft background checks all employees and verifies all passengers. Lyft has double insured drivers; covered under their own and Lyfts one million dollar policy. No joke..

  • Rebuttal to Idiocy

    To the uninformed, no I don’t want Lyft amateurs on my streets. Thankfully I don’t. Lyft drivers are highly trained, background checked, and undergo a rigorous inspection of their vehicles and driving record.
    Informed: Done

  • indian native

    this car thy not comercials insurance



Uber and Lyft Take a Step Toward Real Ride-Sharing

Uber and Lyft have set out to upend the taxi industry in American cities. But are they the traffic-busting “ride-sharing” services they’re often portrayed to be? Not really: Using an app to hail a driver and take you where you’re going isn’t fundamentally different than any traditional for-hire vehicle service. But both Uber and Lyft are […]

The Growth and Growing Pains of Transportation Network Companies

ed’s note: This week, we’re featuring a short series of articles from our board member Juan Matute on what he’s thinking about technology and transportation.  His first thoughts were on vehicle connectivity versus automation. A lot has been going on with Transportation Network Companies since my October 2013 conversation with Damien Newton. Damien and I talked […]

We Need a New Term to Describe Uber and Lyft

Companies like Uber and Lyft make any car owner a potential paid chauffeur, and their services are increasingly widespread in American cities. So what should we call these new companies? Abigail Zenner at Greater Greater Washington says the current nomenclature is a bit muddled: Companies like Uber and Lyft have been dubbing their services “ridesharing.” […]